The U.S. student body is changing. Every year, millions of working adults and non-traditional students enroll in college courses, hoping to advance their education and careers. Yet the cost of higher education remains an enormous barrier for all students, and particularly for working adults and non-traditional students, who typically pay for their own education and may be unable to take out large student loans.
Understanding this, many employers now offer scholarships or tuition assistance to employees pursuing a degree. Large corporations like Big Four accounting firm Deloitte or tech giant Amazon will pay almost the entire cost of education employees seeking certain degrees. Other companies, including UPS and Best Buy, have generous tuition reimbursement and/or assistance policies that contribute thousands of dollars to their employees’ degrees.
Here are 10 companies with outstanding employee scholarships and tuition assistance policies:
1. Amazon Career Choice
Amazon associates who have worked for the company for one full year are eligible for Amazon’s Career Choice program, a tuition assistance program that pays in advance up to 95% of tuition and fees for select degrees. Career Choice is targeted to employees pursuing certificates and degrees in high-demand fields, including but not limited to aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, and nursing. Amazon will also reimburse 95% of the cost of required textbooks. In total, recipients can receive a maximum of $3,000 per year for up to four years.
To apply, interested employees must complete the online application up to 90 days prior to the course start date. You will need to be approved for your intended course of study and your educational institution.
Award: Up to 95% of tuition and fees up and 95% of textbook costs (maximum $12,000 in tuition, fees, and textbooks over four years)
- Employed at Amazon for one full, continuous year
- Pursuing a certificate or associate’s degree in a high-demand field, as defined by sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics
2. Best Buy Tuition Assistance
Best Buy offers active, full-time employees tuition assistance that can be applied toward the cost of tuition, required textbooks, and fees. Employees can receive up to $3,500 per calendar year for undergraduate coursework and up to $5,250 per year for graduate coursework.
To apply, employees must submit an online application no later than 30 days after the course start date. After an employee’s application is submitted, their manager may approve or deny their application within two weeks. If the manager does not take action to approve the application within two weeks, it will be automatically approved. In order to receive tuition reimbursement, the applicant must complete the course with a C- or better in an undergraduate course and a B- or better in a graduate course.
Award: Up to $3,500 per year for undergraduate and up to $5,250 per year for graduate
- Must be a full-time Best Buy employee, in good standing, working at least 32 hours per week
- Must have been employed by Best Buy for at least six months prior to the course start date
- Must be listed as a full-time Best Buy employee in the HRIS system at both the course start date and reimbursement date
3. BP Educational Assistance
BP offers partial tuition coverage to full-time employees who are covered by BP’s core benefit programs. Eligible employees are able to receive tuition assistance for educational and vocational courses immediately upon hire. Employees may take approved courses at an accredited college, university, trade school, association, vocational school, or professional society. Furthermore, employees must take courses that are relevant and beneficial to their work at BP. In order for a course to qualify for tuition reimbursement, the employee must obtain approval before registration, and must complete the course with a passing grade.
To apply, interested employees must complete and mail in a reimbursement application.
Award: Up to 90% of the cost of tuition, books, and other fees
- Must be an active, full-time employee at BP
- Must receive core employee benefit programs
- Must enroll in a program at an accredited educational institution offering coursework relevant to the employee’s position at the company
4. Chipotle Cultivate Education
Chipotle’s Cultivate Education program allows Chipotle employees to receive free tuition for select degrees and up to $5,250 per year for others. Students may receive coverage for over 75 degrees in business and tech, as well as partial up-front coverage cost for select degrees in a wide variety of fields including healthcare, psychology, art, design, and more. Chipotle also offers employees up to $5,250 per year of tuition reimbursement at any school for any degree they choose. In order to qualify, employees must have been employed by Chipotle for at least 120 days, working more than 15 hours per week.
To apply, students must register for the program.
Award: Full tuition for select degrees in business and tech, up to $5,250 per year of tuition coverage for select programs, and up to $5,250 per year of tuition reimbursement for any degree at any college or university
Eligibility: Must be employed by Chipotle for at least 120 days, working over 15 hours per week, prior to application
5. Deloitte Graduate School Assistance Program
Through Deloitte’s Graduate School Assistance Program (DGSAP), high-performing consultants at Deloitte Consulting LLP have the opportunity to receive full tuition reimbursement for their graduate school education. The program is available to top-performing consultants who have been employed at Deloitte for a minimum of two years and have demonstrated exceptional performance and leadership. Participants are guaranteed the opportunity to return to Deloitte as senior consultants upon completing their degree, and will receive full tuition reimbursement upon graduation after two years of employment at Deloitte after graduation. As part of the program, recipients will also receive a technology stipend and discounted GMAT preparation.
To apply, interested employees should speak to their recruiter about the application process. Information about the GSAP process is distributed internally at the beginning of each new application cycle. Application and acceptance into the GSAP should precede graduate school application and enrollment.
Award: Full tuition reimbursement and a technology stipend
- Must be employed by Deloitte for at least two years
- Must demonstrate strong consulting and leadership skills
- Application and acceptance into the GSAP must be completed before applying to graduate school
6. The Home Depot Tuition Reimbursement
The Home Depot’s Tuition Reimbursement program offers tuition support for salaried, full-time hourly, and part-time hourly employees seeking associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, or technical degrees. In order for a course to qualify for tuition reimbursement under the policy, it must begin after the employee’s hire date. The course must also be offered by an accredited college or university. Salaried employees may receive up to $5,000, full-time hourly employees may receive up to $3,000, and part-time hourly employees may receive up to $1,500 per calendar year. These funds may cover up to 50% of the costs of tuition, textbooks, and registration fees, as well as up to 50% of mandatory fees up to $250 per term.
To apply, interested employees must complete a reimbursement claim form through the online employee portal.
Award: Up to 50% of the costs of tuition, textbooks, and registration fees, as well as up to 50% of mandatory fees (maximum $5,000 per year for salaried employees, $3,000 per year for full-time hourly employees, and $1,500 per year for part-time hourly employees)
- Salaried, full-time hourly, or part-time employee of The Home Depot
- Course date begins after hire date
- Pursuing an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, or technical degree from an accredited college or university
7. McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity Tuition Assistance
McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program offers tuition assistance to eligible employees taking courses at an approved and accredited two- or four-year college or university, technical or vocational school, or graduate or postgraduate school. Full-time store manager trainees, certified swing managers, department managers, and general managers are eligible for up to $5,250 in tuition assistance. Restaurant crew, floor supervisors, shift manager trainees, primary maintenance, and other part-time employees are eligible for up to $2,500 in tuition assistance.
To apply, employees must complete an online request for tuition assistance. Applications require employees to provide their McDonald’s employee number, position title, and start date, restaurant address, course term, school and course information, eligible textbook and course supply receipts, and a copy of their itemized tuition bill that includes their name, their school’s name, and matching term, tuition, fees, and financial aid.
- Up to $5,250 for full-time store manager trainees, certified swing managers, department managers, and general managers
- Up to $2,500 for restaurant crew, floor supervisors, shift manager trainees, primary maintenance, and other part-time employees
- For full-time store manager trainees, certified swing managers, department managers, and general managers: Must have a performance rating of “significant performance” or better, maintained throughout the course/program, and must notify their supervisor of their participation
- For restaurant crew, floor supervisors, shift manager trainees, primary maintenance, and other part-time employees: Must be employed by McDonald’s for at least 90 cumulative days, work an average of 15 hours per week or more, and have a performance rating of “significant performance” or better, maintained throughout the course/program
8. Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship for Restaurant Employees
As part of its national Live Más Scholarship, Taco Bell offers its employees the opportunity to apply to an exclusive scholarship program available only to restaurant employees. In 2020, the program gave out a total of $1 million in scholarships to 100 restaurant employees, including 30 awards worth $5,000, 60 awards worth $10,000, and 10 awards worth $25,000.
To apply, employees must create a short video answering the following four questions about their passions and life goals (see here for the required questions) and complete the online scholarship application within the application period.
Award: $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000
- Must be an employee of Taco Bell with a minimum of three months of continuous employment in a restaurant position as of the last day of the program period
- Must be a legal resident of the United States between ages of 16 and 24
- Must be on track to apply for or be currently enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year college, university, vocational-technical school, or trade school
- Must have not previously received a Live Más Scholarship (prior winners may apply to the Live Más Scholarship Renewal Program)
- Must be willing to work with the Taco Bell Foundation’s Scholarship Management Company throughout the application and award process
9. UPS Earn and Learn
Through the UPS Earn and Learn tuition assistance program, part-time package handlers can receive up to $5,250 per year in tuition assistance for a lifetime maximum of $25,000. Over 100 UPS locations nationwide participate in the program, and recipients may study any major. Eligibility for the program begins on the first day of employment and benefits are prorated if hired in the middle of a semester.
To apply, interested employees must complete the online application through the UPS employee portal.
Award: Up to $5,250 per year (lifetime maximum of $25,000)
Eligibility: Must be a part-time package handler for at a participating UPS location
10. Walmart Live Better U
Walmart’s Live Better U program allows Walmart employees to earn a high school diploma, college degree, skilled trade diploma, or professional certificate for only $1 per day, including the costs of mandatory fees and required books. Participants in the program may pursue degrees in business, supply chain management, IT, and healthcare at participating accredited schools, including the University of Florida, Bellevue University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Purdue University Global. Employees can choose from over 100 programs that are designed to accommodate the unique needs of working students. Employees can enroll in the program on the day they are hired.
To apply, interested employees can sign up for in-network classes through the Live Better U website. In-network tuition will be paid directly to the course provider.
Award: Covers the entire cost of education, except for student’s $1 per day contribution
- Part-time or full-time active Walmart employee working in the United States or Puerto Rico
- Must enroll in a participating degree program
Gaining an education while working can be difficult and costly, but many companies offer generous tuition assistance and scholarships to their employees. Ask your employer about tuition assistance to learn about their policies.